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Principal industries in Wheeler County are agriculture, livestock, and government. The county has a total area of 1715 square miles and the 2010 census population was 1441, which by definition meets the criteria for pioneering. Out of the 1715 square miles one square mile is water. The terrain of the county varies widely from sagebrush, juniper, and rim rock to stands of pine and fir. The Painted Hills and Clarno units of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument along with portions of two national forests lie within its boundaries with forest lands covering nearly one third of the county.